Pumpkins for prizes | SteamboatToday.com

Pumpkins for prizes

Event showcases decorated gourds during Halloween Stroll

Margaret Hair

Pamela Peretz, special events coordinator for the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, makes a banner for the Festival O' Pumpkins. The festival is scheduled to take place on the courthouse lawn starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

In the event’s first year, organizers of the Steamboat Festival O’ Pumpkins already have their sights set on something bigger.

The event, which invites pumpkin carvers to bring their creations to the Routt County Courthouse lawn starting at 2:30 p.m. today, was born in a brainstorming meeting of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, said organizer Pamela Peretz.

“This year it’s kind of the first run, and next year we’re trying to make it bigger and better,” she said.

When Peretz took the idea to Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett, the annual Downtown Halloween Stroll organizer mentioned a similar, much bigger festival of pumpkins in Keene, N.H. Held every year since 1991, the Keene Pumpkin Festival at its height drew almost 29,000 entries.

“I’m sure it would never get that big, but there, people come from all over the place,” Barnett said about how the New Hampshire festival might compare to a similar event in Steamboat Springs.

Festival O’ Pumpkins entries will be divided into child and adult groups and will be judged in four categories: Best O’ the Boat, scariest, funniest and most artistic. Pumpkins can be dropped off from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the courthouse lawn and will be up for voting through the Downtown Halloween Stroll, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each registered pumpkin will be given a number, and will be color-coded as the work of a child or an adult. Votes will be cast by number, and winners will be announced in the Steamboat Today. Prizes include restaurant gift certificates for adults and sidewalk chalk kits for children.

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Peretz said she’s not sure what kind of turnout to expect for the event, which came together at the last minute; she hopes the contest will add to the festive trick-or-treating atmosphere on Lincoln Avenue.

“I think it’s just fun to view what creativity there is here in Steamboat and among the citizens of Routt County,” Peretz said. Barnett said she thinks the event has the potential to grow in a community that already turns out in the costumed hundreds to trick-or-treat down the main street every Oct. 31.

“Halloween is such a big deal in this community; it’s kind of like a big fraternity party,” Barnett said. “And I think the pumpkin carving could be really fun.”